Denmark, which holds the EU presidency for the current six month period, has taken up a very harsh position regarding the Kaliningrad question. Estonian Foreign Minister Kristina Ojuland made this statement yesterday at the annual meeting of employees of the Vilnius, Tallinn, Riga and Kaliningrad bureaux of the Baltic news agency BNS.
Ojuland said that 'Denmark is trying to solve the Kaliningrad problem on the basis of EU law, without damaging Lithuania's interests'. She also said that Estonia supports Lithuania's position in negotiations with Russia over the Kaliningrad problem, and regularly brings it up at meetings with representatives of the EU and the European Commission.
Lithuania and Poland, in accordance with the rules of the Schengen Agreement, intend to cancel their visa-free regime for inhabitants of the Kaliningrad Region from the middle of next year. After Lithuania's entry into the EU her borders with Belarus and the Kaliningrad Region will become the EU's external borders. From January 1, 2003 the visa-free system for passengers of Russian trains traveling through Lithuania between the Kaliningrad Region and the rest of Russia will be cancelled. From July 1 visas will also be required by inhabitants of the Kaliningrad Region traveling to Lithuania or via her territory to Russia by car.
Russian President Vladimir Putin got the West worried again by signing Decree No. 915. The news did not produce any public effect in Russia